There is a commercial website about “busting the myths of summer health and nutrition.” Some interesting ways of looking at things are there, but not necessarily the kinds of things we’d recommend.
For example, here is one questionable recommendation: 15 minutes of unprotected sun on the face, arms, and abdomen, to help get adequate vitamin D. Nothing wrong with that scientifically, but from a practical standpoint, it’s like advising everyone to eat one potato chip. And, of course, vitamin D deficiency is not as threatening as skin cancer.
Maybe a more useful way to look at summer nutrition would be to contrast what people think summer eating is like, with what most people actually are doing.
What “Everybody Knows” About Summer Nutrition
Summer is when everyone eats lighter, right? More activity, more outdoors, less time on the couch just naturally leads away from “comfort food.” Well that might be the image. The reality is somewhat different.
We think summer is about chilled gazpacho, but we forget about the fries that come alongside the BBQ ribs. We think of fruits and vegetables being even fresher and more abundant in the summer, but we forget about the ice cream. We think summer is for seafood, but then we go to the grill with a tray of red meat to baste and sear.
It’s no good to be preachy about favorite foods. After all, eating is about culture as well as nutrition. But our culture could do well by dialing up the “myth” about summer nutrition and making it a family tradition.
The Color of Good Nutrition
Vibrant vegetables are even more appealing in the summer. Think of fresh peppers in green, red, and yellow. Fruits, too. Our precious peaches shouldn’t all be shipped north of the Mason-Dixon line.
Our fruits and vegetables are not just signals of summer; they also supply important antioxidants. And phytonutrients come with our vegetables, too, helping protect us against all the top threats to health, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
If we saw a commercial for something we could take that would protect us from all those, wouldn’t we be interested? Summer is a good time to build a habit of eating five servings of vegetables a day – not just three. That’s the state-of-the-art advice from nutrition experts.
The Power of Blue
What a good time summer is to discover the taste and nutrition explosion of the blueberry. They’re famous for antioxidants, sure, and their gentle sweetness helps stabilize our blood sugar. But there’s even more going for them.
The polyphenols that make blueberries blue may help your bones stay strong, and help reduce the heart attack and stroke risk of developing plaque in your arteries.
Under the Sea
Not just an excellent calypso tune sung by a cartoon crab, under the sea is where some great sources of nutritious protein live. Don’t miss the most abundant season for seafood, and why not make it the guest of honor when you’re grilling. Give the cattle the summer off.
We’d love to be your family physician and guide to getting the most out of life, not just in the summertime. Just call us at 843-815-6468.